On a recent communication our dear and worried friend the Koala bear, in light of the still on-going extensive deforestation rates in his home country, asks Wally Menne from Timberwatch (GFC’s Africa focal point), about Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification schemes. Wally replies and explains our good friend why FSC and other certification schemes DO NOT work and only serve as ways for ‘greenwashing’ environmentally harmful activities…
Koala – “I thought FSC would only certify plantations that were planted prior to 1993, the year of their founding. Has that changed”?
Wally – “I think there was once a time when the FSC promise not to certify post-1994 new fake forests (tree plantations), that displaced real forests, still had some takers. What I believe has subsequently happened is that this rule has been conveniently bent so that so-called “degraded” forests and other land areas including productive agricultural land and pristine grassland habitat have been targeted for new timber plantations, on the basis that they would automatically qualify for FSC certification.
Of course this completely ignored the fact that farmers, local communities and indigenous peoples who had been using that land for their subsistence would then be displaced into other areas, leading to further forest and grassland conversion and loss, not to mention resource conflict with other communities and the destruction of biodiversity. This is the same kind of effect as the so-called ‘leakage’ or ‘displaced deforestation’ that most REDD projects cause.